The Bird’s Eye View S2|16: Gotta See a Man About a Horseman - Roll For Combat

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The Bird’s Eye View S2|16: Gotta See a Man About a Horseman

Jason recaps the events from Agents of Edgewatch S2|16: He’s Kind Of A Big Deal.

We join this week’s episode just in time for the first real fight of the dungeon. The skeletons were more of a warmup, and the encounter with the temple guards was almost more of a trap: as long as you weren’t dumb enough to stay in the room with them, combat could be pretty much avoided entirely.

This time, though, we’ve got Christopher Walken’s character from Sleepy Hollow to deal with. The initial read of the fight is that the guy on the horse is the heavy hitter, but the horse itself isn’t that formidable – it just adds that smoke debuff and gives the guy more mobility than he’d have on foot. Halfway through the fight, Steve mentions that it does have some sort of trample ability that might make it a more powerful foe, but we never actually get to see that.

Now, I’m at the back when the fight starts, and if I’m being honest, half of that was by design – now that I use a bow, I like hanging back a little until I can assess the fight – and if I’m being honest, the other half was that I was being a little slow in moving my piece. John pretty much ran halfway across the map, and I was moving along in 30, 40-foot chunks. As one of Bob Ross’ “happy little accidents”, this did mean I was too far away to get the fear effect from the rider or the sickness from the smoke. So maybe “tactical cowardice” has its place in the world.

The opening act strikes me as “good radio” from an action standpoint, but highly implausible from a physics standpoint. First, critical hit or not, I’m not sure I see a gust of wind blowing over a horse that’s capable of carrying an armored rider. There really probably ought to be some size restriction on that. But the rules say what they say, so itty-bitty mephit huffs and puffs and blows the horse down.

Also, there’s the matter of the steed saving its master from the fall. I’m not going to break out my old college physics text and do the math, but even with everyone’s turns theoretically happening simultaneously, I’m not sure 6 seconds (one round) would be enough time to re-summon a steed and stop the fall in a way SAFELY slows down the rider. DON’T THESE PEOPLE KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO GWEN STACEY IN SPIDER-MAN? It’s far more likely the rider’s momentum would just pancake the horse and they’d both be dead. But whatever. Good radio. Moving on.

While the enemies are in freefall, we have to make a tactical decision, and for some reason, John wants to use this moment to run past the encounter and go further into the dungeon. I didn’t really get a chance to chime in as much as I wanted, but this struck me as a REALLY dumb idea. First, there’s bleeding encounters – what if we run into the next room, find another enemy who’s just as powerful, and then the headless horseman rejoins the fight as well. Even if that doesn’t happen… let’s say we go explore a while. Eventually – unless we find a PERMANENT base of operations – we’ll have to leave the dungeon to go rest up, and we’ll probably have to come back past this guy with far fewer resources to deal with him. So I was firmly of the mindset of “might as well take the fight now”.

Especially when you add in the POSSIBILITY of getting the temple guardians on our side. I have to admit I didn’t really think that would work, but it was worth a shot. I looked at it this way – if he’s a mindless “animal-instinct” level of undead, he probably wandered in there once before, got punched, and realized he shouldn’t go there again. If he’s got human-equivalent intelligence, he probably RECOGNIZES guardians of Aroden and knows to stay away from them. Either way, I do kinda doubt he’s going to charge right into the room. But it could still help us establish a defensive position, much the same way it helps to fight under your tower in League of Legends. If you stake out a position the enemy can’t or won’t enter, you can basically chip away with ranged attacks and then go in for the finishing blow on terms of your choosing.

That’s the theory anyway.

The one kinda-sorta problem was that Lo Mang and Dougie ran and hid behind pillars, which somewhat negated the purpose of trying to LURE the thing. For a lure to work, you gotta at least give the enemy some sort of target to chase, so unless it’s got supernatural radar of some sort, that means SOMEONE’s got to be in visible range. So that’s why I was standing out in the middle of the room like a dope at first – offering up a target. I’m not excessively brave, but I hadn’t taken any damage yet, so even if he’d gone full charge, I probably could’ve survived one round of attacks and then he’d be all the way into the killbox.

And wouldn’t you know it, once we start fighting with tactics instead of rushing blindly at things, it actually starts to go pretty well. We down the horse pretty easily, and while the boss is a little tougher, Gomez’s spells really make the difference here. One thing that was kind of exciting – though we really only got to SUCCESSFULLY use it once – was the Shared Strategem. Now that Dougie retrained into more of a traditional precision damage rogue, being able to use my bow to give Dougie flat-footed from anywhere in the room is going to be a big help.

So the horseman dies… but no cool loot, because he just disappears into mist. So I think there’s going to be some sort of “putting him to rest” side quest involved here. Given the theme of “corrupted catacombs”, I think maybe this guy was a former champion of Aroden, but either the Skinsaws activated him as a line of defense or the general corruption caused by Aroden’s absence turned him. Assuming that to be true, that sort of implies he’ll have his own burial chamber if he was a high-up muckety-muck, and maybe there’s where we’ll be able to figure out how to banish him permanently. And (cough) get his stuff (cough).

While searching around in the aftermath of the fight, we do find a tunnel leading to a different part of the dungeon, and there’s indications that this is how the Skinsaws are getting in and out. So if we want to go directly after them, that seems like the way to go. But between resolving the horseman issue and general “clear out the level” metagaming, we decide to investigate further along the horseman’s path to see if we can find clues about how to get rid of him permanently.

And OK.. we don’t find the horseman (unless his grave is behind that locked gate), but we do find another encounter. Which we’ll deal with next week. As always, feel free to drop by our Discord channel or other social media and let us know what you think of the show. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next week.